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Where You Go, I Go

DEVOTION—LENT

At the beginning of the book of Ruth, we’re introduced to three widows: Ruth, Orpah, and their mother-in-law, Naomi. Naomi bids her daughters-in-law to go and find new husbands. Orpah does, “But Ruth said: ‘Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.’ ” (Ruth 1:16) Ruth swore an oath that she would stay with Naomi. Ruth didn’t choose to stay because of a legal requirement, but because of her love for her mother-in-law and for her God. She showed trust that Naomi would not lead her to destruction and that God would keep them both in His loving-kindness. Ruth went with Naomi and found another husband, Boaz, and Ruth and Boaz were the great-grandparents of King David. Read More »Where You Go, I Go

Will You Accept the Gift of Lent?

COVER STORY – Lent

I’ve never found myself in a situation where I felt I needed to refuse a gift. Some obviously have. No honorable woman would ever, for example, accept a diamond ring while refusing a marriage proposal (as much as she might like to). Others may have found it necessary to refuse gifts that would obligate them to unacceptable terms or conditions.
Beginning February 26th, our God will again be offering to each of us the gift of Lent. The question that confronts all Christians each Lenten season is whether we will accept or refuse this divine present. How, why, would any Child of God refuse?

Time for introspection and contemplation

The gift that our God offers in connection with the season of Lent is a unique and invaluable time for introspection and contemplation, but it does not come without certain obligations. Human beings are, by nature, hedonistic, superficial, ungrateful, and lazy. We also have a natural sense of entitlement, imagining that we deserve whatever good things we want or receive. Christians know better, but our Adversary has learned from experience that if he can fill our existence with distractions and obligations, if he can create a world of perpetual preoccupation, he can tap into both our natural laziness and our sense of entitlement, and thereby convince us that the obligations of Lent outweigh the benefits.

Counting the cost

The point here is not that the obligations of Lent aren’t real. They are. Begin therefore by counting the cost. If your plate is truly full, you can’t add more without forcing something else off. “Carving out time” implies that something has to be cut off and discarded. Recognize also that the obligations of Lent involve more than just an hour or two for a half dozen Wednesday services (which can include cleaning off and bundling up little ones, a cold car ride, and the disruption of the family routine). Read More »Will You Accept the Gift of Lent?

Christ Loves You with a PASSION

“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” (John 4:34, NIV84)

What’s your passion?

Is there a hobby you especially enjoy doing? Cooking? Playing piano? Fixing cars? Long distance running? Most folks have a set of activities they choose to include in their schedules depending on their interests. It’s good to have such diversions. They have a way of adding spice to life. They can also revitalize us for the respective callings in life which the Lord has given us (in the home, at work, at church, and so on).

Speaking of “callings,” we will soon enter the season of Lent.

It’s the time of year when we ponder in a special way the calling God gave to His Son, Jesus. We are reminded how Jesus’ one burning desire—His passion—was to finish the mission His Father assigned to Him for our eternal blessing. For Jesus it was, of course, more than a hobby. It was THE reason He was born into the world. As we meditate on His work for us, it saddens us to think how it was our transgressions that brought such woe on Him. At the same time, it makes us happy. The basis for our happiness could be pictured by an acrostic on that word PASSION, as follows:

The P in “PASSION” stands for PREDICTED. We hear again and again in the passion account that everything took place so the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled (for an example, read Matthew 26:55-56). This is important because it proves that Jesus is our true Messiah, chosen by God to serve us in love.Read More »Christ Loves You with a PASSION

A Long Road to Spring

If  there is one thing to look forward to here in the Midwestern part of our country, it is spring. I can remember long and brutal winters that seemed to hang around forever. I recall waiting with longing for the daylight to lengthen and the temperatures to rise. Everyone seems eager to see that first green shoot come up, or perhaps the first hardy robin to arrive. It’s a time of anticipation and preparation for good things to come.

The Lenten season is a long road of anticipation as well. As far as can be determined, the word Lent comes to us from an Anglo-Saxon word for spring. As early Christians anticipated the coming of Easter in the springtime, they would prepare themselves during this penitential period. Many of the devout would fast during the Lenten season in order to reflect on their sins and the consequences they bring. Read More »A Long Road to Spring

REMEMBER?— REMEMBER WHAT?

Memory is a funny thing.

Very often we remember what we’d like to forget and forget what we’d like to remember. I can clearly remember specific events in my childhood…
yet I’m unable to remember a single event from an entire year.

The 22nd Psalm concludes with these words:
“All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You” (v. 27).  

Read More »REMEMBER?— REMEMBER WHAT?

LENTEN . . . JOY?

“…(Jesus) who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

The term joy is not one we typically associate with the seven weeks of the Lenten season. Joy is an emotion usually reserved for the seasons of Christmas and Easter.

The emotions of godly sobriety and repentance are usually associated with Lent—and rightly so. Our thoughts focus on the need for forgiveness of sins, as we consider the suffering, sorrow, shame, and death our Lord Jesus endured to reconcile sinners unto God.Read More »LENTEN . . . JOY?